A little ditty about Mark’s Gretsch White Falcon, named Chalky. In Mark’s own words. 

Chalky the Gretsch

To celebrate reaching 22 years of staying alive in the Army, I bit the bullet and shelled out for my ultimate Gretsch. By 2010 I’d owned a 67 Tennessean for 18 years. As a kid into music, owning a Gretsch had always been a dream. However, with greed once you have something you always want more. The ultimate model in the Gretsch line had always been the White Falcon. After all it was built purely as bling to show off at guitar shows and conventions. Here’s an extract of its history:


The White Falcon is an electric hollow-body guitar introduced in 1954 by Gretsch.

This guitar was created as a “showpiece” to exhibit the craft of Gretsch’s luthiers, sales, and demonstration representative, Jimmie Webster, who created it for the 1954 NAMM Convention. The guitar was so popular that it was put into production and went on sale the following year. Since then, it has undergone various changes and is still being made today. 

The White Falcon’s distinctive appearance is owed to its 17-inch size (white, with gold-sparkle pickguard featuring an engraved falcon) and its hardware: Jimmie Webster’s 1954 version had triple binding, gold-plated hardware, an ebony fretboard with mother-of-pearl inlays, and an eye-catching “Cadillac G” tailpiece.

In early 1954, Jimmie Webster sought to design a guitar to improve upon the Gibson Super 400. He wanted a “Dream Guitar,” and gained his inspiration by walking through the Gretsch factory watching the construction of the many diverse musical instruments the company produced. Webster recalled the engraved pearl inlays that adorned the fretboard and headstock of banjos. Many of Gretsch’s drums were covered with thick sparkly gold plastic that could also be used as binding on guitars.

The White Falcon was unveiled at the NAMM Convention in July 1954. It was displayed as “the guitar of the future,” but Gretsch initially had no plans to manufacture the model. It was supposed to be a showpiece.


So, in 2010 being single and on a good wage I trotted along to Cranes in Cardiff and placed my order! My desired Falcon model was the 7593 single cutaway, predominantly for the wire tremelo arm. It arrived a couple of weeks later. Brand spanking new. I opened the case in the shop, if joy could be bottled!

Chalky at rest


Over the years I’ve felt no need to mess around with something that works efficiently. The bridge was switched for a Tru-arc brass. This I believe produces a bit more sustain and looks the dogs… The gold falcon pick guard was removed, sacrilege to some but a waste of time in my eyes. Two little marker jewels were glued next to the volume knob to indicate half and full volume. This was done in the days where I believed that whacking the amp up to increase drive and controlling the volume and thus feedback from the guitar was the way forward. It isn’t! That’s it for modifications. As for string gauge, I prefer light 9’s and they work a treat.

Gretsch White Falcon modifications and cleaning

For 14 years throughout a few band incarnations this has become my one and only. Indeed along with the pork pie hat I guess it’s become a bit of a trademark in the North West scene. I’d never get rid of Chalky, he’s still my dream guitar. The only way I could dream of adding to Falcon heaven is by owning a 50’s or 60’s model, then I’d feel complete!

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